What better way to celebrate summer than with some Caribbean food? The Caribbean refers to the nations and thousands of islands spread throughout the Caribbean Sea. Some of those countries include Jamaica, Trinidad and Trobego, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and so much more … To name all the islands would take forever! These countries may all exist in a relatively small space compared to other countries, but each has its own culture and take on cuisine. However, if you’ve visited different types of Caribbean restaurants, you’ve probably noticed the staple ingredients, like plantains, pigeon peas, chayote, cassava/yuca, chickpeas, coconut, and sweet potato, to name a few.
These countries may all exist in a relatively small space compared to other countries, but each has its own culture and take on cuisine. Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of European, Chinese, Arab, and especially East Indian cuisines, so you’ll always find curry, roti, and alloo pies, which are similar to samosas, in Caribbean restaurants.
At One Green Planet, we love Caribbean cuisine because it’s simple, yet full of flavor. Not to mention, the key ingredients are affordable, so if you’re on a budget, it’s something you have to try! Get started with these 15 recipes!
1. Trinidadian Alloo Hand Pies
Alloo Hand Pies are a popular Trinidadian street food made from spiced mashed potatoes folded into dough and then fried. The potatoes are flavorful and creamy, with warm spices, vegan butter, and vegan sour cream, while the dough is crispy and warm. These are best served with spiced chickpeas or any kind of chutney, from savory onion to sweet and spicy mango.
2. Mangu: Dominican Mashed Plantains
Mangu is a traditional Dominican breakfast dish made from cooked green plantains and savory red onion that’s served hot. If you’re looking for an alternative to warm breakfast foods like oatmeal, then give this recipe a try. It’s the perfect dish to start your day!
3. Jamaican ‘Beef’ Patties With Cheese
Just like authentic patties, these Jamaican “Beef” Patties have a spicy, meaty, cheesy filling surrounded by a dough that’s flaky and flavorful. This recipe uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) as a substitute for beef, but if you can’t find that, try whatever filling is best available. They can be filled with greens, veggies, tofu, seitan, prepared vegan beef, or whatever you love.
4. Jamaican Sexy Juice
If you’re ever attending a Caribbean, more specifically Jamaican, function you are guaranteed to find Sexy Juice on the menu. Where the name “Sexy Juice” actually derives from, nobody knows. Perhaps it’s that sexy feeling which manifests itself or maybe it’s a drink exclusive to sexy people? Either way, this amazingly refreshing drink is made from pineapple juice, vegan condensed milk, and just a hint of nutmeg. Try it on a hot summer day!
5. Pigeon Peas Salad
Pigeon peas, also called gungo peas, are a staple in Caribbean cuisine. Try adding some Caribbean flair to your life with this flavorful and healthy Pigeon Peas Salad. It’s filling thanks to the pigeon peas, full of fresh veggies, and topped with a bright, gingery dressing. If you can’t find pigeon peas, you can substitute them with black eyed peas.
6. Jackfruit Ropa Vieja
This Jackfruit Ropa Vieja is a meat-free take on a Cuban favortie! Jackfruit is cooked until browned and then added to a flavor-packed pan of sofrito, onion, celery, carrots, and peppers. It all simmers in a savory tomato sauce and salty olives. It’s not only delicious but it’s a colorful dish that is as fun to look at as it is to eat.
7. Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers With Pineapple Guacamole
These Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers are packed with protein, flavor, and of course, sweet pineapple guacamole! Homemade jerk seasoning makes these burgers extra-special, but they’re ultimate when topped with creamy pineapple guacamole. Oh, yeah. That’s what we’re talking about!
8. Caribbean Paella
Paella is a traditional seafood dish from the Valencia region in Spain. This version of paella turns the original dish and turns it on its head using only plant-based ingredients and a Caribbean twist. This Caribbean Paella is full of color and flavor, with bell peppers, mushrooms, pumpkins, saffron, and just a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
9. Roasted Chayote
Chayote is a small, green, pear-shaped vegetable that’s commonly eaten in the Caribbean and Asia. It’s not all too flavorful raw, but when rubbed with herbs, it truly transforms into something delicious! This recipe for Roasted Chayote is super easy, the veggie is simply sliced, seasoned, and lightly pan-fried.
10. Cuban Black Beans
These Cuban Black Beans are spiced with garlic, onion, cumin and oregano. Totally traditional and totally fabulous! If you are short on time you could technically use canned black beans, but the flavor of home-cooked beans is so much more delicious and authentic. These beans can be served by themselves or with rice, fried plantains, and sliced avocado to create a full meal!
11. Jamaican Pigeon Peas Soup
Although this Jamaican Pigeon Peas Soup includes starchy vegetables like yam and sweet potatoes, the broth is light, making it the perfect meal anytime Legumes and potatoes make it hearty, meaning that this soup will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Chili pepper is slowly simmered with fresh and dry herbs for a deliciously subtle flavor that’s never too spicy.
12. Caribbean Chocolate Smoothie: Coconut, Rum, and Cacao
This delicious Caribbean Chocolate Smoothie is an absolute must! It’s like a rich, chocolatey chocolate ice cream shake. Frozen banana is blended with coconut cream, coconut water, dates, spices, and rum. For an indulgent treat, try topping it with coconut whipped cream!
13. Caribbean Callaloo Soup
Callaloo is a vegetable that was brought from west Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. When slaves settled in the Caribbean they found many ingenious ways to cook callaloo including in the form of soup. Callaloo Soup is made differently by almost every island. There is no right or wrong method — this variation omits the meat and puts more emphasis on using green vegetables. If you can’t find callaloo near you, spinach can be substituted.
14. Pumpkin Pone: Caribbean Cornbread
Pumpkin may be seasonal in the United States, but it’s a staple in Caribbean cuisine. You can often find pumpkin being served in Caribbean restaurants all year round. So, you don’t need to wait until fall to try this Pumpkin Pone! The addition of pumpkin makes gives it a melt-in-your-mouth texture while the coconut gives it some Caribbean flair.
15. Caribbean Pigeon Pea Coconut Curry
In this recipe for Caribbean Pigeon Pea Coconut Curry, stewed curried pigeon peas are served on a bed of steamed vegetables. Although each vegetable contributes its own flavor and texture, the curried pigeon peas and mushrooms pack the biggest punch. The coconut milk-based curry is warming, smooth, and savory. A side of rice is unnecessary, but it ensures that you won’t miss one drop of this delicious curry.
It’s pretty much impossible to look at all this delicious food and not get ideas — we get hungry just thinking about it!
Lead image source: Caribbean Jerk Millet Burgers With Pineapple Guacamole